Thursday, June 25, 2009

Thursday Thinking—Welcome, Welcome

I'm thinking about the day Ty was born 23 years ago. . . .

We were too tired to have a baby. Calvin had driven eight hours to pick Trevor and Trent up from the airport and I'd been in town all day doing our once-a-month grocery shopping. I came home put the bulk groceries in the containers, carried the storage items to the basement, filled the cupboards, grated the cheese (it was before the day of grated cheese in the stores) and put it in the freezer and then fixed a big supper to welcome Trevor and Trent (our oldest sons from Calvin's first marriage) home for the summer. Cali was only three and Abe was barely a year old. After everyone was in bed, I told Calvin I thought our baby would be born that night. He groaned. By midnight I was sure of it so I awakened him and we found someone to come sleep with Trevor, Trent, Cali and Abe while we drove the 25 miles to the hospital. A few hours later it was time for Ty to be born. But did I mention I was too tired to have a baby? Calvin slept in the corner of the room. He was too tired to have a baby. But the doctor wasn't too tired. In fact he was awake enough to be a bit worried when things slowed down and told the nurse to hurry and get the kit. I wasn't sure what "the kit" was, but I was fairly certain it included forceps and figured I ought to hurry and quit being too tired. A few minutes later Ty was born. Nobody looked at the clock. Nobody knows exactly when he arrived. But it doesn't matter. He made it and I will never forget when he was just a day old. I was holding him against my heart when he lifted up his head and with those little gray eyes looked straight at me and smiled—strong and sure. Then his head bobbled and rested back against me. There was such a warm, special feeling that passed between us I knew it was no accident. That smile said, “Thank you for getting me here,” and mine said, “Your welcome. Welcome to the family.”

Welcome home, Ty. Welcome home to the family, it's grown while you were gone.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Homemaking Tip—There’re Lists and Then There’re Lists

As Darla mentioned on her blog, this seems to be the week of lists. Here is my list of lists:

~daily list
~things to do before the wedding list
~things to take to the wedding list
~grocery list
~menu list

We’re on the countdown. Abe and Grace get married one week from today. But before that, Ty comes home from his two year mission to Taiwan . . . tomorrow! Because of the international dateline, Ty gets a two-day birthday this year. He leaves Taiwan at 6:00 pm in the evening on his birthday and flies and flies and flies and then layovers a time or two and then arrives in Washington at 10:00 pm on his birthday. Here is a snippet from his last e-mail from the mission field:

As we were heading over to (a family’s) house, it finally hit me that I am done. That was my last full proselyting day. I started to cry but had to stop quickly because we had to go make those cute little kids happy. It was a ten year old girl and her 8 year old younger brother. About a week after (the missionaries) started teaching them, their mom passed away. The dad couldn't ever quite give up drinking and smoking and so the family eventually stopped investigating the Church. It was great seeing them. We shared a scripture with the two little kids and reminded them that God loved them and they need to pray every day. Then we started riding (our bikes) home. Well, actually Elder Gassin and I said a prayer together before leaving and I lost it. I don't cry very often, but I did last night. I was so sad. I am really glad I didn't have to leave Jilong (an area in Taiwan where he loved serving) and Taiwan at the same time. That might have just broke me.

So today, first and foremost on my list is Ty. He’s going to be awful homesick for Taiwan and the Taiwan people for a long while, so the least I can do is have frozen otter pops waiting for him. We also need to

~write “Welcome Home Ty” on the garage door with sidewalk chalk
~buy a big bag of purple skittles
~fill the cookie jar
~find him a place to sleep

The rest of the stuff on the list—cleaning the house, spraying off the sidewalk, mowing the lawn, weeding the garden—is all trivia. The most important thing on my list today is making home home for Ty.

What's the most important thing on your list today?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

SPT— Dirty Jobs


I have one daily chore I don’t enjoy in the summer. It’s stealing the eggs from under our one hen that likes to set. I don’t mind that she pecks my hand; I don’t mind that I have to put my hand under her warm bottom to find the eggs; what I do mind is that after I rob her eggs she continues to sit there, day after day, waiting and waiting for her chicks to hatch and each day I know that I’m the one that steals her dream.

Tonight Calvin and I carried some beet tops and spinach that had gone to seed from the garden to give to the chickens. As I was robbing the nest, Calvin said, “Awwwww, just leave her a few eggs. It won’t hurt anything.” Starting tomorrow that hen gets her dream and it appears to be a win, win . . . until four weeks from now when I have to throw out the ones that didn’t hatch, and getting rid of rotten eggs is as just as bad as stealing a hen’s dreams.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Monday Memories—Words, Words and Words


Rachel, my sister, gave me an 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language by Noah Webster for Christmas and it came in the mail this week. I knew right where to put it—front and center in the living room where it’s accessible.

When I was a girl, we had a big dictionary that sat on a stand at the end of the upstairs hall, right outside of my bedroom door. There is power in a dictionary. A dictionary settles arguments (necessary with a scrabble-playing-grandma-erma-that didn’t-mind-beating-her-grandkids in the house). A dictionary expands a vocabulary. A dictionary is a history book that records not only what words mean in a certain year but what society deems important enough to preserve. A dictionary is a keeper of the word. The Oxford Dictionary omits and adds words every year when they update. These are some of the words they chose to delete this year:


Now can you see why I’m so glad for an 1828 Noah Webster dictionary in my living room? For as long as I can remember the most often used answer to a question has been “Go look it up in the dictionary so you’ll remember next time.” I think those are pretty important words and Noah knows what every one of them means. I looked them up.

Do you want me to look up a word for you?
Guess what a bishop is besides being "a spiritual superintendent"? (I put the answer in the comments section.)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

52 Blessings—A Good Dad for Our Kids

I love Calvin for lots of reasons, but today I love him for being such a good dad. Here are a just a few reasons why:


1. I love that Calvin is willing to carry the kids wherever they need to go—whether it be across the yard, a creek, the country, he has always been willing to make sure the kids are where they need to be when they need to be there. Rain, snow, busy-schedule, sun, sleet, tight finances—he’s like the UPS man. He delivers.


2. I love that Calvin has always worked hard for our family—one, two and, once or twice, three jobs at a time to provide for our needs. He hasn’t loved every job, but he still happily goes to work. I also love that he has taught the kids they must work.


3. I love that Calvin is a fixer and teaches the kids to figure things out. When he wants to learn something he buys a book and reads about it, then buys a video of someone doing it, then practices until he figures out how to do it and then he teaches it. The kids have also learned a few swear words as he fixes things. I do not love that.


4. I love that Calvin includes the kids in his hobbies. Trevor, Cali, Ray, Abe and Ty all have a black powder gun he has made. He encourages any of them to join him in making or shooting longbows and guns or going hunting.


5. I love that Calvin loves good food and shares it with the kids. He wishes he had the job of Andrew Zimmern, the man that roams the world tasting bizarre foods. Instead, Calvin experiments at home. Cali and Ray took him out for Indian food Friday night and he was in heaven with all the spices, lamb and sauces. I love that the kids are much more diverse and interesting eaters than I am because of this. (As a side note, our kids hate peas. Why? I can only conclude it is because Calvin hates them. I’ve tried to disguise them for years, but Calvin can sniff them out before the lid even comes off the pot. I’ve come to the very scientific conclusion that kids follow their father’s eating habits more than their mother’s.)


6. I love that Calvin has taught the kids that there is more than one way to provide for your family’s needs. Whether it be through making the things we need or raising/hunting the things we eat, he has taught the kids it is important to be self-reliant—even when they don’t want to be.


7. I love that Calvin will learn the kids’ hobbies so that he can do things with them. He’s even learned to like chic-flicks so that he can spend time with Ande.


8. I love that he has stressed education and learning to our kids and has helped them get good schooling. He has always been interested in what they are learning and how well they are learning it. He is proud of his kids and he lets them know it.


9. I love that Calvin enjoys music from many genres and generations and has exposed the whole family to it. One of my favorite parts of road trips is listening to him sing along with the radio or CD. In fact yesterday on our way home from Seattle, Abe requested Calvin play old cowboy songs and as they both sang along I told Calvin that I loved hearing him sing along and Ande chimed, “Me, too” from the back seat. He often says he’ll buy a milkshake for the one that can name the singer. I got a chocolate milkshake yesterday . . . he doesn’t discriminate against lucky guesses.


10. I love that God is important to Calvin and he has taught the kids to put Heavenly Father first in their lives.


11. I love that Calvin is quick to say he is sorry to the kids when he is wrong.


12. I love that Calvin has taught the kids to be patriotic. He once received a letter from a retired four-star general thanking him for teaching patriotism in our home, saying “patriotism is something that must be learned and is not inherited.”


13. I love that Calvin is protective (. . . and you thought only she-bears were mean). He’s quick to correct and discipline the kids, but if someone unjustly attacks or poses a threat to his kids . . . well, let’s just say he thinks he’s still twenty and can take them on.


14. I love that Calvin gets better and better as a dad.

An incredible dad for our kids is surely a blessing I’m grateful for this Father’s Day.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Thursday Thinking--One Blind Eye and One Deaf Ear

the Eiffel Tower mirrored in Ande's eye

My Children’s Literature teacher taught that the best mothers have one blind eye and one deaf ear. My interpretation was that mothers shouldn’t hover too closely, interfere too often, believe everything they see and hear. What I didn’t know then is that mothers would also need to save an eye and an ear so that they could see and hear with brightness the things their children would later share.

I have loved seeing life through our kids' eyes through the years. I have especially enjoyed seeing the sights and hearing the sounds and feeling the feelings of Europe through Ande’s eyes this week.

What is something you've enjoyed seeing through someone else's eyes?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Homemaking Tip—A Bit of This and a Bit of That


Today my good friends, Shelly, and her daughter, Michelle, hosted a bridal shower for Grace. It was such a generous gesture and very much appreciated . . . as well as to all who came. One of the activities Shelly planned was for Grace to make a cake with the women’s help. All of the ingredients were on the counter and Grace asked us what and how much to put in. Collective cakes aren’t quite as beautiful as cookbook cakes, but it didn’t turn out too bad! For dessert, Shelly served a wonderful mint ice cream with chocolate sauce and oreo crust dessert. (She had originally made carrot cake for the shower, but decided it wasn’t pretty enough to serve so she sent it home with us. Oh my goodness, it was incredible—so moist, so rich and definitely pretty, however the ice cream dessert was really good, too, so we were doubly and richly served.)


Thanks to Nesha, Brenda and Katrina for preserving the Minnie-Pearl-style-hat-made-of-a-paper-plate-and-the-ribbons-from-the-gifts for the bride. Katrina even rolled ribbon roses for it and yes, that is the extra fine detail of ribbon stapled to the edge of the white tissue paper veil that you see. You get a group of women together and watch the creativity flow.


Grace was so appreciative and excited she came right home and showed Abe and Calvin all the gifts that they have received. I hope the tradition of bridal showers never dies, for it is as Shelly says, “Showers are a way for the older women to reach out and pull the younger women into the friendship circle of women.” I am so grateful to the women through the years who have pulled me into a circle of friendship and do the same for others.

Homemaking Tip: I thought I could keep my pinks straight but when I’m faced with a rack of coral, pale, cherry blossom, carnation, pastel, salmon, fuchsia, baby and magenta dresses, buckets of flowers or bolts of fabric, I can no longer remember what peony pink really looks like. So at Cali’s suggestion, Grace and I went to Home Depot and picked up a few paint swatches of her wedding colors and now anyone can match peony pink anytime, anywhere.

Did you wear a paper-plate hat at your bridal shower?

Monday, June 15, 2009

Monday Memories—They’re Back

Ande's Room-----Abe's Room

The kids are home! A summer highlight for us is the kids coming home from college. When they unload their things it is a mystery that we ever fit two kids to a bedroom.

I loved it when I was young and my older brothers and sisters came home. Because of age differences, I especially remember Davy, Chris and Marcia coming home. When Davy came home he gave us rides on his motorcycle. Chris wore a dishtowel for an apron when she came home, and even made leftovers fun—she would fix a plate of all the different things in the fridge and then put a number on each plate then we drew a number for supper. Marcia thought of fun things for us to do and took us to “picture shows” at the theatre and drive-in. She also bought us gallon jugs of root beer at A&W.

I’m so glad the kids are home and I’m really hoping our 25 year old washer hangs on one. more. summer.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

52 Blessings—Oh Say Can You See


My niece, Maddie, saluting the flag

For all intents and purposes it looks like I sunk. However, looks can be deceiving. I just kept going with the flow all week. Yesterday Calvin, Abe, Grace, Ande and I along with several church friends did a six + hour service project hoeing weeds in a cantaloupe patch, then rocked and visited on the patio with a friend that stopped by, then got an hour phone call from an old friend in Idaho, then went to a bbq and a ballgame. Friday I spent the day in Tri-Cities at an in-service training meeting and then went to Penny’s, Macy’s, Sears, Christopher Banks and Kohl’s in a fruitless search of a peony-pink something to wear to Abe and Grace’s reception. Though I couldn't find anything, I did come home to a wonderful Filipino supper made by them. Thursday was our last day of school and Wednesday was our day before the last day of school and now here it is Sunday and, in the words of Ann with an “e”, I have a fresh new week with no mistakes in it . . . yet.

Happy Flag Day to you. I had several ideas for 52 blessings today, but when I sat down to post decided on the American flag. A few weeks ago Grace and I saw the flag that inspired Francis Scott Key to write The Star Spangled Banner. Our flag has a way of doing that—inspiring people—as it waves a symbol of freedom. I know she inspires me. I thought today of that 1934 graduate of West Point that I wrote about a few weeks ago:

“He quietly sat in his wheelchair watching the cadets and drum and bugle corps march past him. However, when the color guard bearing the American flag drew near, he struggled and struggled to gain his footing and stand. He barely got his knees under him before the flag passed in front of him and he saluted it proudly before softly falling back into his wheelchair with a little humph. A hundred other “old grads” were in attendance at the parade, too, some of them walking with two canes, and each proudly saluting the flag that he protected and singing aloud The Star Spangled Banner."

I have since learned that 1934 graduate was 99 years old. The flag obviously inspired him and his cane-bearing buddies, too.

Happy Flag Day. Long may she wave o’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009



Swimming, swimming, in the swimming pool
When days are hot and nights are cool
In the swimming pool
Front stroke, side stroke, fancy diving, too
Oh wouldn’t it be nice if we had nothing else to do.
But . . .

When I was the stake camp director one of the youth leaders taught everyone this song at roll call. I thought our kids would enjoy it and introduced it at family night a few weeks later. Our family sang it over and over—fall, winter, spring and summer. I think Ande liked it best because besides hand actions, we had to sing it 38 times, the first time with all the words and thereafter humming one word, then two, then three, until we were only humming. “Buuuuuuttttttt . . .” however, was sung with gusto.

Bad idea. With potentially thousands of repeats, that song has been an earworm in my head ever since. When I start to feel like I’m treading water and making no headway my head starts to croon, “Swimming, swimming, in the swimming pool . . .” and it won’t shut up.

So, though I’m no busier than anyone else, though I have nothing more out of the ordinary going on than anyone else , though I have no reason to be behind, all day my head has been singing, “Swimming, swimming in the swimming pool . . .” and I can’t seem to blog, sing and dog-paddle at the same time.

This afternoon I’ve been swimming in:

~Wedding Gifts. Organized and wrapped nine. (I was drowning in misplaced intentions. I hate when I procrastinate.)

~Reading. The Tipping Point (uh-hum, slept then read a paragraph, slept then read a paragraph . . . and I even like the book).

~Writing E-mails. (In fact, that’s why I can post now; I am sitting by the computer waiting for Ty’s e-mail so we can make Air Force Academy arrangements. He reports less than two weeks after he gets home so we better get a plan.)

~The Hall Closets. Sorting again. The kids definitely need more room.

~Phone Calls. I talked to a sick friend, called information more than once and heard the busy signal a dozen times.

~Guilt. I haven't walked in over a week.

That’s it. Here’s to a more productive day tomorrow where I don't just dog-paddle or hear that silly song over and over again.

How about you, did you float or sink today?

Friday, June 5, 2009

Life in My World—Five for Friday

1. Ande is back from her Spring semester study abroad in Europe. Ahhhhh. It is a sigh of relief to have her home. Besides giving wonderful companionship, she unceremoniously keeps the dishwasher emptied and always brings out a bar of German chocolate in the timeliest manner. In the evening she mysteriously appears with a bar and, like last night, we sit and savor it while we read and try not to take the last piece.


Ande brought me home this rooster pottery from St. Gimignano. I was so excited when I unwrapped it and said, “Oh, I just can’t wait to put syrup in it!” Ande and Abe just looked at me and then echoed, “Mom, this is not a syrup pitcher.” But I read a fun post by Stacy Julian where her mother always served their maple syrup in a whimsical pitcher and it was THE item everyone in the family wanted to inherit. When I read the post I thought, “Oh darn. I wish I’d have thought to do more fun things like that when the kids were little rather than always be so practical.” When I opened the rooster I was glad to get a second chance to salvage a few years of serving fun syrup . . . albeit to adult children . . . with big plans to serve it to a whole crop of grandchildren. However, neither Abe nor Ande like the idea of a rooster spewing syrup on their waffles, so he sits on a shelf overlooking the waffles. However, someday when Abe and Ande send their children to stay with me I’m serving syrup in that rooster.

2. Everything is growing nicely in the garden. I always marvel at the miracle of a seed. Always. And at the vigor and number of weeds, too, and wonder what Adam and Eve thought the first time they reckoned with them. The spinach, lettuce and rhubarb are ready and the potatoes are on schedule. There was a bunch of broccoli seed mixed in with the carrot seed and it just kills me to pluck them out, but twenty broccoli plants is seventeen too many and I’m just asking for worms if I let them live.

3. Ty comes home is less than three weeks. I am now allowing myself the privilege of thinking about string cheese, gala apples and otter pops and listening to A Better Rain by George Strait. Funny what little things trigger memories and make you cry in awkward places like the grocery store, so you just have to avoid them altogether. But not anymore. In fact, the other day when A Better Rain came on Ande slyly reached to change the song, but I told her it was okay to miss him now because he’s almost home.

Ty had his companion cut his hair this week. In his words: “Talk about a mistake. I had him cut the top with a size four guard on the buzzers. That went well. It is pretty hard to screw up you know. Then I asked him to use a size one on the sides and fade it up to the top. His first pass was fatal. He did it and I could feel it wasn't good. That was confirmed by the look on his face as he let out a long "OOOOOOOOOOOOhhHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!" We then just both bust up laughing. He kept going at it and it was horrible. It was blotchy on the sides and too high from the first pass and just hideous. I taught him how to make it smooth and not blotchy and he went to work. Pretty soon, it wasn't blotchy, but it wasn't really smooth and the fade is horrible. I am completely un mirror image. It is just in time for us to attend all of the zone conferences for the whole mission too. We will go around and train all the missionaries with my horrible hair."

Three weeks 'till family pictures.

4. One more week of classes. Bittersweet. Sweet & Sour. My most productive hours in a day are from 5 am – 10 am and though I look forward to summer vacation and using those hours here at home (plus being able to stay up a little later at night), we’ve had an incredible year studying the New Testament and I appreciate and love the kids.


Ande brought home several pieces of art from Europe and this was one of my favorites. It is by DaVinci of Mary and Elizabeth with Jesus and John. I could look at it for a very long time. I have loved learning about art from her.

5. Calvin and I are headed to the temple in Tri-Cities this afternoon. I do love the order it restores to my world and then tomorrow I will get together for a BBQ with some scrapbooking friends and Sunday Abe and Grace will be here. Oh and yard sales. I just may try and hit a yard sale or two. I do love a good bargain. Did I ever tell you about my yard sale secretary desk?

That is Life in My World this week. Do you serve syrup from a fun pitcher?

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Thursday Thinking—Age

Tonight Calvin told Cali a story on the phone. When they had finished visiting he handed the phone to me and Cali was crying. She said, “Oh . . . this is just sooooo sad to see Dad getting older” and then she cried some more.

Not an hour later I was washing the supper dishes looking out the kitchen window and saw Calvin jumping with Seemore on the tramp.


The more Seemore bounced the higher Calvin jumped and the harder he laughed.

Don’t cry Cali, if it’s true that everyone is the age of their heart, your dad is still really young.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Homemaking Tip—Feet that Don’t Fail Me Now


I first met Heather scrapbooking. She is a good writer, whirlwind of productivity and I love and admire her. Heather saw this advertisement in a magazine, made it into her own poem and blog post and encouraged us to do the same. Here’s how my poem would read:

I’m not wealthy, but I certainly feel like it.
I wear sensible shoes so my feet won’t hurt.
I can’t do the splits, or sing in tune or text very fast, but I admire people who can.
I go on regular lunch dates with my husband because they’re cheaper than night dates.
I never hesitate to tell anyone my age because the older I am the more gray hair and pudges I’m allowed.
I celebrate responsibility, enjoy simple things
And always remember my happiness starts with me.

And speaking of shoes, here is my homemaking tip for the day:


Mink oil and saddle soap revive comfortable old shoes nicely. The sandals are close to ten years old and the others are close to five and though they aren’t trendy, I can walk and walk and walk in them with no ill side affects. Thanks to Calvin for cleaning them up for me.

What would your poem say?

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

SPT—Fun Correspondence

This is my Self-Portrait Tuesday post even though I'm behind the camera instead of in front of it.

I mentioned a week or two ago that I had taken this picture of two veterans. This was my correspondence with George, the man on the right . . .


Dear George,

I took this picture of you a couple of weeks ago at the WW II memorial. I just love it. Every time I see it, it makes me smile. Thank you for letting me take it and thank you for serving all of us in the military.

Best wishes to you always,

Jane Payne

Dear Jane:You made me a winner..As soon as you took our photo, my friend said:"you will never get that picture". I told him I was positive I will get that picture. so,I am going to send him a copy and I am certain there will be some grovelling on his part.Thank you. I am sorry we are a continent apart; I would love to take you to dinner. You are a different breed!With gratitude, George Brown

Dear George,

Oh ho! I’m so glad I could make you the winner. I’m only sorry it took me so long to get it to you so that he thought he won.

Seeing you veterans at the WWII memorial was the thing that made it so great. I dread the day when there are no more vets, so please live as long as you can.

I wish we weren’t a continent apart, too. I’d love dinner and to learn about your life.

Thanks for being a friend,


Wouldn't you love to go to dinner with George? I'll bet he likes steak.